Animal testing on rodents
Rodents are commonly used in animal testing, particularly guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and mice.
In the UK in 2004, 1,910,110 mice, 464,727 rats and 37,475 other rodents were used (84.5% of the total animals used that year). In 2005, the total number of rodents used was similar to the previous year: 1,955,035 mice, 414,335 rats and 40,856 other rodents.
In the U.S., the numbers of rats and mice used are not reported, but have been estimated at 15-20 million. In 2000, the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, published the results of an analysis of its Rats/Mice/and Birds Database: Researchers, Breeders, Transporters, and Exhibitors.
Over 2,000 research organizations are listed in the database, of which approximately 500 were researched and of these, 100 were contacted directly by FRD staff. These organizations include hospitals, government organizations, private companies (pharmaceutical companies, etc.), universities/colleges, a few secondary schools, and research institutes. Of these 2,000, approximately 960 are regulated by USDA; 349 by NIH; and 560 accredited by AALAC. Approximately 50 percent of the organizations contacted revealed a specific or approximated number of animals in their laboratories. The total number of animals for those organizations is: 250,000-1,000,000 rats; 400,000-2,000,000 mice; and 130,000-900,000 birds.
Mice are the most commonly used vertebrate species, popular because of their availability, size, low cost, ease of handling, and fast reproduction rate.
They are widely considered to be the prime model of inherited human disease and share 99% of their genes with humans. With the advent of genetic engineering technology, genetically modified mice can be generated to order and can cost hundreds of dollars each. The Mouse Genetics Core at Washington University in St. Louis explains what is required to produce today's widely used transgenic and chimeric mice:
Production of Transgenic Mice
The Transgenic Animal Production service consists of injecting each construct into 300-350 eggs, typically representing three days work. Twenty to fifty mice will normally be born from this number of injected eggs. These animals are screened for the presence of the transgene by a polymerase chain reaction genotyping assay. The number of transgenic animals typically varies from two to eight.
Production of Chimeric Mice
The chimeric mouse production service consists of injecting embryonic stem cells provided by the investigator into 150-175 blastocysts, representing three days of work. Thirty to fifty live mice are normally born from this number of injected blastocysts. Normally, the skin color of the mice from which the host blastocysts are derived is different from that of the strain used to produce the embryonic stem cells. Typically two to six mice will have skin and hair with greater than seventy percent ES cell contribution, indicating a good chance for embryonic stem cell contribution to the germline.
- Animal model
- Animal testing on invertebrates
- Animal testing on non-human primates
- Rat Park
- Testing cosmetics on animals
- "Education about Animal Research". Foundation for Biomedical Research. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- Willis-Owen SA, Flint J (2006). "The genetic basis of emotional behaviour in mice". Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 14 (6): 721–8. PMID 16721408.
- The Measure Of Man, Sanger Institute Press Release, 5 December 2002
- Taconic Transgenic Models, Taconic Farms, Inc.
- Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Mouse Genetics Core